After having had a few sessions on improvisation with the same group of students, the recent session produced some results that I was looking for. As school exams were being held then, not all the students were able to make class. Those who attended class allowed me quality time with them and it was 6 year old Emily who demonstrated that she understood what was required of her to do simple improvisations.
Having explored improvised melodic ideas over the past few sessions, the ideas began to sink in for this young student. I just wanted to know if she can improvise on her own without my guidance as she has been listening and observing intensely during our few sessions so far. I casually asked what her favorite song was that she can play on the piano and she said 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' from Piano Lesson Made Easy Level 1.
Then I asked if she could try improvising on this favorite song of hers and she nodded. Obviously, her familiarity with this piece of music helps because she would have been playing it repeatedly. Like her, we will keep playing our favorite pieces over and over many times. That's what we all do!
Though it was a simple improvisation, she did it musically and was able to enjoy what she was doing. What impressed me was that she demonstrated the ability to 'feel the phrases' in this piece of music to improvise accordingly. She beamed when I told her that she did very well. Encouraging her builds confidence and assurance that she is doing things correctly. From here on, it would hopefully pave the way for her to develop a creative musical mind.
Teaching anyone, especially a very young student to improvise can be quite a challenge. However, with perseverance, patience, proper guidance and a believe that the young student is capable of improvisation could eventually produce some result.
Note: Proper posture of sitting and hand position on the piano, please click on Sitting correctly at the piano